Airports

Free books at the airport

Reading a book on a cross-country flight is a luxury that is too often replaced by a series of stupid movies offered (not always for free) on the seatback entertainment screen or on an app we’re urged to download before we leave the gate area.

But what if you’ve forgotten to bring a book from home or don’t want to shell out $29.95 for a bestseller at the newsstand near the gate?

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport there are currently two kiosks with hard-to-miss screens offering free downloads of e-books and audio books to people who have library cards – and those who don’t.

The kiosks are courtesy of the King County Library System and non-card holders are offered an instant two-day library card. Downloads are good for seven days.

People are enjoying the SEA airport book kiosks so much that the one of them already needs a tune-up, which I have been assured in underway.

Libraries in many other cities have installed e-book kiosks at their airports (some have permanent kiosks/others are temporary) and some airports have leave-a-book-take-a-book shelves.

I spotted this one at Washington’s Walla-Walla Airport.

Of course, if you already have a library card ( and you should) and your airport offers free Wi-Fi, there’s nothing to stop you from using your time at the gate to log on and scour the e-shelves for a book as well.

Or to just dream about the ‘good old days’ when an airport might have a library branch on site.

This one was at Nashville International Airport.

 

 

Elves at airports

hmshost-elves-ohare-photo-1
Airports around the country are ready for the holiday travel season with decorations, entertainment and special events of all kinds – including an invasion of gift-bearing elves.

Beginning Thursday, December 1 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and running through December 8, the HMSHost Holiday Elves and their “magical sleigh” will be popping up at major U.S. airports handing out electronics, fun gag gifts, holiday collectibles and travel accessories to select lucky travelers and passersby who play the elves’ naughty-or-nice game.

Look for the elves on December 6 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (I’ll be there!) and Orlando International Airport on December 8.

Not planning on being at those airports on those days? You can still can win prizes (in airports or not ) by posting creative holiday travel photos.

 

 

Airports take the Mannequin Challenge – & rock it!

mannequin-library-of-congress

(Courtesy Library of Congress – via Flickr Commons)

The Mannequin Challenge is – for some reason – sweeping the nation.

I don’t quite get it, but the short videos are oddly entertaining to watch. And the fad seems harmless.

Here’s how a few airports accepted the #AirportThrowdown Mannequin Challenge.

More – I’m sure – to come.

Let me know which ones I’ve missed and I’ll add them here.

 

 

 

 

The moving walkway is now ending…

love-field-1st-moving-walkway-in-an-airport

(Photo courtesy: Courtesy Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas, Texas)

Work in progress…

For my At the Airport column on USA TODAY I’ve been researching moving walkways at airports.

Geeky topic, yes, but there’s technology, drama, technology death and whimsy involved in the development of these helpful airport amenities.

The column should post next week, but I wanted to share the photo above, which is from Dallas Love Field in 1958, when the first moving walkway in an airport was installed.